The sister who wrote the following letter was a member of the RS choir that sang for the General Relief Society Broadcast, September 27, 2008. (It was written the night before the broadcast. I had noticed the white blouses and wondered why...)"Hello Family and Friends -
Well, I broke down and decided to send a quick email to let you know that the choir for the General Women's Broadcast tomorrow night was selected from my area and I am in it. I just had to share some things I have learned and felt during the last 7 weeks at rehearsals.
First, you will see that we are wearing white blouses. Some people have commented to me their surprise at the color choice (or lack thereof) but I have to tell you the story behind this. Sis. Beck, the General R.S. Pres., stopped into our practice one night as a surprise and she spoke for a few minutes. First, I cannot describe the feeling she brought with her, the power of the Holy Ghost as she testified to us of the Lord's hand in this conference and her humble pleading for help in her talk. She said that as she has traveled the world, she has felt such a powerful need to communicate to the women worldwide, regardless of race, economics, etc. that we are sisters and ALL members of the LORD'S church - together. She said that she felt inspired to request that we wear white because everywhere she has gone, the women always show up in a white clean shirt somehow. She said she didn't know how it was possible in some areas to have anything clean let alone white - but they always come somehow in white, even if it is a tee-shirt, cleaned and turned inside out so the writing on it doesn't show. So, she wanted them to see the choir and know that they could be part of it regardless of money or situation. They also asked us to not wear jewelry (or very minimal) so that women who are not sure where the next meal is coming from don't feel such an economic division between Utah and them.
They have worked to prepare us spiritually as much as musically. From the first night, they have said, the music is secondary. The testimony of Jesus Christ is primary. It is only about Him and the sisters out there. From the second we started rehearsing, the Spirit has been tangible and present. Every time, I leave feeling changed inside. At our first rehearsal, they said that there wouldn't be any new or original special songs. They told us that the conference is translated into the various languages, except the music. The music is always in English. There are many versions of Hymnals in the world, but they don't have every song in them. In fact, there are only about 15-20 songs (if I remember correctly) common among them all. So, to unify the sisters again, they chose 4 of the songs that are in every hymnal, so even if they don't understand our language, they will know the song and feel it is their hymns and their Church.
The theme of the music is rejoicing and hope in the Savior. In light of world events of the recent days, I can't tell you the power and peace I feel when I practice these songs. I invite you to listen closely to the words of the songs. They have come to me with force I have rarely felt in music ~ for example: "His kingdom cannot fail. He rules over earth and heaven." When it seems that everyday something else is failing, His kingdom cannot fail. Or, "I would learn the Healer's art", "Find in Thee my strength my beacon", or just the simple phrase "Lift up your hearts! Lift up your voice! Rejoice again I say rejoice." I have felt things during this preparation time that I never dreamed of feeling or learning. So, I felt the spirit say as I was practicing tonight " 'Lift up your voice' and send some thoughts to those you love." So, here are my thoughts and my love for whomever of you needs them.
My testimony has never been stronger of Jesus Christ and his love for us. My favorite name for him is "Savior." I feel it in every fiber of my being. He will not fail us if we cleave to Him. It is a marvelous time to be on the earth and great things are happening in this Church! It is his kingdom we are a part of. It is a privilege to bear His name and to try to be like Him. It is worth fighting for and holding our standards high. When we had our dress rehearsal in the Conference Center , and the organ started playing HUGE, and sound pouring out of the pipes over us, and singing with all the feeling of our souls, my heart felt like it would explode! I never considered how intimately the Savior watches over the preparations of conference, but I testify HE is in every detail, every plan, every element of it. It is HIS conference, HIS church, HIS world, HIS people, HIS Love, and I am so grateful for the chance to sing my testimony to you tomorrow night! I will have you in my mind and heart!
(Again, this was NOT written by me... but, by a sweet sister that was in the choir...)